January 16, 2018: Markets opened higher Tuesday with the DJIA even leaping above 26,000 for a while. The sell-off was widespread later in the day with materials and energy dropping the most. The green back strengthened in the afternoon probably contributing to the down turn in stocks. WTI crude oil for February delivery settled at $63.73 a barrel, down 0.9% for the day. February gold added about 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,337.10, its highest level since September. Equities were headed for a narrowly mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.06% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.25%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.38%.
The DJIA traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could show either a small gain or a small loss.
Bitcoin futures for January delivery traded at $11,495, down nearly 17.6% on the CME after opening at $13,600 this morning. The number of contracts jumped to 2,500 and open interest rose to 748.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Tuesday was General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) which traded down 3.52% at $18.10. The stock’s 52-week range is $17.25 to $31.45. Volume was about double the daily average of around 82 million shares. The company announced this morning that it would take a fourth-quarter charge of $6.2 billion.
United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) traded down 1.65% at $134.32. The stock’s 52-week range is $106.85 to $137.39. Volume was about 15% above the daily average of around 3.1 million. The company had no specific news Tuesday.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Tuesday was Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) which traded up 6.19% at $62.29. The stock’s 52-week range is $53.63 to $66.80. Volume was more than three times the daily average of around 12.2million shares. The company’s lung cancer treatment drug met goals in a Phase 3 trial.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 1.89% at $232.95. The stock’s 52-week range is $156.09 to $235.00, a new 52-week high set this afternoon. Volume was nearly double the daily average of around 2.9 million shares. The company’s fourth-quarter earnings and forecast for 2018 were better than expected.
Of the Dow stocks, 13 are on track to close higher Tuesday and 17are set to close lower.